Frequently Asked Questions
What is parkour?
- Parkour is a way of thinking/behaving mixed with a way of moving and training the body/mind. Parkour practitioners adapt their movements to overcome obstacles in their environment and at the same time, adhere to specific philosophies that guide their training.
- Check out the what is parkour? page for a deeper look.
I / my kids want to learn parkour, are there classes I can take?
- Yes, there are training opportunities in most cities in New Zealand to suit everyones needs. Free training sessions facilitated by NZ Parkour members, classes by NZ Parkour instructors or our delivery partners and more.
- To see what is available in your area, visit your local community page.
Should I / my kids start learning parkour inside first?
- No. The reason for this, is that most indoor training options (e.g. gymnastic centres) do not replicate natural or urban environments. Learning skills indoors and taking them outdoors does not prepare a practitioner for the demands of the real world and can be very dangerous.
- It is actually safer to build up slowly in an outdoor environment. Make sure you understand parkour philosophy and the non-competitive nature of the discipline before you begin.
Where is the nearest training facility or parkour park?
- Right outside your front door! Parkour was born outdoors and that’s where it will stay. If there is an indoor facility or outdoor parkour park in your area, it will be listed in the local community page for that city.
- Currently there are no dedicated “parkour parks” in New Zealand, though they are in the pipeline. While there are benefits to such spaces, you should know that the whole world is our playground – that means parkour parks are luxury items, not necessities.
- Read our publication on Key Elements and Recommendations for the Integration of Parkour in Landscape and Design.
When is the next parkour gathering or community event?
- Have a look at the sidebar or go direct to the event calendar to see when the next gatherings and events are.
Is parkour safe? / Do bad accidents happen?
- Parkour is actually all about safety (not danger) and is an excellent tool for teaching sound risk assessment. Even though parkour practitioners can seem like they are doing daring feats, compared to the average person, they are less inclined to do dangerous things and are actually in full control of themselves and their movements.
- Small cuts, bruises and scrapes come with the territory, but serious injuries are rare in parkour so long as you train sensibly. Start small and build up gradually over time. Only attempt things that you know you’re capable of and never do anything just because somebody told you to. If you follow the philosophy of parkour then being injury free for all of your days is a very real possibility.
What is freerunning? / Can you do a backflip?
- The word freerunning was first used to describe parkour to an English speaking audience in the documentary Jump London. It is now most commonly associated with the more freestyle and acrobatic way of moving through ones environment.
- Sebastian Foucan (founder of freerunning) defines it as “the art of expressing yourself through movement in your environment without limitations”.
- In most places, parkour and freerunning are trained side by side. Get amongst it!
Parkour, history + training
How much does it cost to do parkour?
- Parkour is as cheap as you want it to be! You can start doing parkour right now for free (head over to your local community page and to see how you can meet up with the locals) and never pay a cent.
- Check out the classes section of your cities community page to see how much the classes in your area cost – usually $10 per session (cheaper for NZ Parkour members) with some concessions usually available.
- If you stick with parkour it will change the way you view the environment and and there’s a good chance you’ll get the itch to travel all over the world, to meet new people and explore foreign lands – this can get expensive. You have been warned 😉
Where does parkour come from? / Who invented it?
- The short answer is that it comes from France and was inherited by David Belle (from his father Raymond Belle) and developed by him and his friends in the suburbs of Paris in the late 1980’s.
- The full history of parkour is much richer however and is worth looking into.
What does the word 'parkour' mean?
- The word parkour is an anglicised version of the French word “parcours” which means route or course.
What is a traceur/traceuse?
- These are the French male/female terms for a parkour practitioner.
What should I do to get fit/ready to do parkour?
- You can actually do parkour right now regardless of how you feel or what you are capable of. Parkour is a training method where YOU define the obstacles and movements. You get to tailor your training to fit yourself in whatever stage of life/training you’re in. If you need some ideas or inspiration, head along to a local training or a class, they’ll work with you to show you what will be appropriate.
What if I'm old, can I still do parkour?
- Absolutely! All you need to do is get out there and give it a go. If you want some company, check out the training page.
What clothes/shoes do I need?
- Light, flexible clothing is ideal, such as shorts/track pants and t-shirts. You don’t actually need to wear shoes to do parkour, but again, light and flexible is the key. Check out our blog for some shoe reviews.
Can I do parkour if I don't live in a city?
- You sure can. Parkour isn’t an urban only activity, there just tends to be more people and more accessible obstacles in an urban environment.
Should I train alone or in a group?
- You should try to do both! Parkour is a personal activity, so you need to train alone to know truly how your body moves and how your mind works in a training situation when you haven’t got any friends around. At the same time, parkour thrives in a community context, so train with other people to get fresh ideas and encouragement. Try not to get stuck in either camp.
What do I do in bad weather?
- Go training! Just like training solo and with others is important, training in good and bad weather conditions is super important.
Will I get in trouble for doing it?
- Parkour is not illegal, but you have to be sensible where you do it. We do not condone trespassing and will not advocate for you if you have been caught doing something illegal. Keep your training to public places.
- If you’re ever stopped by property owners, staff, security or police, stop your training and talk with them. Explain what parkour is, why you’re doing it, how the space you’re using is valuable to you and direct them to us for more. If after a discussion they want you to go somewhere else, listen to them and find somewhere else to train. The last thing you want to do is have an argument and lose a valuable training location.
What's the tallest thing you've jumped off? / What's the most extreme thing you've done?
- Parkour is not an extreme sport or an activity for daredevils, nor is it about jumping off tall buildings and seeking thrills. Parkour is about the pursuit of sustainable self-development of the body and mind. It requires dedication, patience and perseverance; a measured approach that allows one to grow and learn without hurting oneself, others or the environment.
NZ Parkour Services
Who runs NZ Parkour?
- NZ Parkour is run by some of the most experienced and passionate parkour practitioners from around the country and most of them are volunteers.
- Have a look at the contact page to see same names and faces.
What does NZ Parkour do?
- If it’s parkour related, we do it; from advocacy to professional development, consultation to workshops, presentations to classes. Have a look at our services page and see how we can help you. If what you’re looking for isn’t listed, ask us anyway, we bet we can help!
Do you teach instructors?
- Yes, we have two professional development streams. One for coaches of other disciplines wanting to learn about parkour and one for parkour practitioners wanting to improve their coaching skills. Head over to the professional development page for course details.
Do you sponsor athletes?
- No. Parkour is non-competitive and we don’t do anything to spread competitive opportunities, whether that’s hosting competitive events or athlete sponsorship.
- We do however host and run community events that everyone can attend – see for yourself.
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